Texas Tech University

New Faculty Spotlight: Kristina Petersen, Nutritional Sciences

Ashley Brister

October 6, 2020


Petersen’s passion for nutrition paved the way for a career in academia at Texas Tech

Kristina Petersen, Ph.D. APD, FAHA, joins the Nutritional Sciences department as assistant professor. Petersen earned her bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Flinders University in Australia before pursuing postdoctoral training in public health and epidemiology at the George Institute for Global Health. Petersen returned to the U.S. to study clinical nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. She is also an accredited practicing dietitian.

"I trained under some incredible mentors that have not only fostered my passion for nutrition but gave me the confidence and inspiration to pursue an academic career," Petersen said. "I was drawn to the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech because of the Nutrition and Metabolic Health Initiative (NMHI). Universities in the U.S. have state-of-the-art clinical facilities for human nutrition research. I am very excited to be here and be a part of NMHI."

Teaching and mentoring students in the College of Human Sciences is one of the most rewarding parts of the job, she says.

"I am looking forward to getting to know the students in the college and working with them in the classroom as well as in research," Petersen said. "I know instructors, advisors, and mentors play a critical role in students' educational experiences and I hope that I can positively contribute to my students' experiences at TTU."

Petersen's research focuses on how one's dietary habits can make a substantial contribution to heart disease and diabetes risk, poor diet being one of the main causes.

"My research, and that of many others, has shown that small improvements in diet can go a long way to reducing diet-related disease risk. My research focuses on dietary strategies to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. I conduct human clinical trials looking at the effect of individual foods, bioactive, and dietary patterns on risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases. In addition to finding ways to translate research findings gained under highly controlled conditions to strategies that improve the overall diet of the population."